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Page history last edited by Andrew Alder 5 years, 4 months ago

Topic warning... this is a page of theology.


What is a religion?


I am a Christian, and as such I'm very interested in what alternatives there may be. We are commanded in 1 Peter 3:15 to be ready and willing to honestly answer questions about our faith, and this seems to be an obvious question for which we should be prepared to give an answer.


To me, a religion is a framework of beliefs that guides our daily actions, no more nor less. As such, both agnosticism and atheism are religions, and this seems fair enough since agnosticism was invented by Thomas Huxley explicitly to be an alternative to Christianity. I am aware that many atheists and agnostics, like Huxley, hate the very concept of a religion, and would therefore prefer not to apply the term to their belief system. If that's you I won't quibble with the term, instead let us find a neutral one. But in my private thoughts I'm afraid I will continue to think of your beliefs as a religion, and also to use the term in that way when I write things intended for general consumption.


And there;s a second part of the definition that is often overlooked. Two religions are only different if at some point they lead to different actions. If they don't do this, they are just varieties of the same religion expressed in different words. (And these are fighting words!)


How should we evaluate religions? Obviously, by the actions of those who follow them. The Christian bumper sticker that read I'm not perfect, just forgiven made a valid point but it goes only so far. Are the actions of the adherents good or evil? And again, there's a second part: How helpful is the religion in making decisions? Are its precepts clear and easily understood and applied?


By these standards there is probably no perfect religion. (More fighting words.) But some are better than others.


More to follow. 












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